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Oh, yes…. four kids + 3 meals a day = stains!   That’s ok because I’d rather they enjoy their meals than worry TOO much about the stains.   Now, using their shirt as a napkin, well, that’s another story. 

It can stain our clothes, countertops, etc… so today we are talking about how to get rid of the stains.

A boy eating an ice cream cone with it melting on his face, hand and shirt.

1- Yellow Curry (turmeric)
Have you ordered for a scrumptious Indian takeout dish inclusive of yellow curry sauce only to find out it left marks on a surface or clothes that do not clear with the normal methods of cleaning? The persistent yellow color of turmeric can be annoying. It will mark your clothes, Tupperware, countertops, even fingers. Unfortunately, it will not come out with the regular dish soaps.

One aspect of the yellow pigmentation caused by turmeric is that it is photosensitive. This means, if you expose the spot to sunlight for some time it will disappear effortlessly. Even if you cannot take the item outside, you can illuminate the spot with a high power flashlight.

Another trick is to use a stain remover with some bleaching abilities. For the kitchen countertops, look for a mild bleach-based stain remover. You may need to test your surface before applying the bleaching agent. Apply the stain remover onto the spot over a paper towel and leave it in place for at least 15 minutes. Come back and sponge off any remaining trace of the mark.

2. Coffee

I have a workout shirt that says “Today’s workout is sponsored by Coffee”… and the kicker?  One day I spilled coffee on that favorite workout shirt.   Yep.    Ironic?   The best way to get rid of the stain is to tackle it right away.

If it lands on your countertop, it is no different- you want to try to remove the stain quickly.  Most counters are made of laminate, marble, granite, concrete, tile, and limestone. You can tackle a stain on such using a poultice of baking soda, in paste form, smeared on the stained area and covered with paper towels then left for at least 15 minutes before cleaning. Baking soda should absorb both the wetness and the yellowish mark.

If the spill occurred on clothes, try to soak it immediately in hot water. For an old stain, soak the garment in dishwashing liquid. Another idea is to find a spot remover or borax and use it on the garment. Use 2 tablespoons of borax for 1 cup of water and soak the garment in the solution for about 10 minutes. The stain should now come off with normal laundering.

3. Tomato-Based Sauce

Did you spill marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, salsa or pizza sauce on something? Start by scooping the excess with a spoon or so. However, do it carefully so that you do not spread the stain further. Then, run the stained part of the garment over cold water from the back side. This will force most of the sauce off the cloth. Apply detergent on the spot and wash.

Another idea is to soak the garment in cold water and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and some drops of dishwashing soap. Give it some time for the stain to breakdown then wash and rinse. Keep off hot water with tomato-based stains.

4. Baby food

Children can be spontaneous and restless.   Even with your feeding skills, each session is likely to end with food smeared all over.  🙂   To take care of the mess, begin by scraping off the solid bit of the food. Then, rub the spot using an alcohol-based cleaner. Even a hand sanitizer with alcohol will do. This should restore your garment or surface to its original appearance.

5. Butter or Cooking oil

Peanut butter and cooking oil are among the notorious products when it comes to food stains. They hold onto your fabrics and give you a hard time cleaning. However, you can use dishwashing liquid since it is designed to cut into the grease. Just rub the spot with a cloth dipped in dishwashing liquid then rinse. If this doesn’t help, treat the garment with a liquid detergent booster before washing with the hottest temperature of water or cycle recommended for the fabric.

The secret to tackling any stain easily and effectively lays in dealing with it while it is still fresh. If left, stains harden and become hard to remove. Also, they are likely to spread wider. In this case, avoid the scenario by removing them immediately. This works well if you have a cleaning kit in different locations in your house, especially, near busy areas of your home.

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Thanks to Beverly Jenkins for her tips today!  She is proud of her staff at The Tidy Maids house cleaning service in Raleigh, NC. She has 24 years of experience in house cleaning, customer service, and business operations. She knows all the tips and tricks and do-it-yourself hacks when it comes to cleaning and her clients’ homes are the best proof for that.


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. This post is perfect for mums of school kids! I love to let my kids get creative at home because I can make sure they’re wearing old clothes. At school it’s a different story, they usually come home with paint, dirt, pen and food on their little white school shirts!